Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thirty years of magic at The Black Market

Downtown’s beloved import boutique celebrates three decades of bringing gems from around the world into the homes of Haligonians.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 5:14 AM

  • RAchel McGrath
The Black Market Boutique claims its own corner of the city boldly. The rainbow paint outside the Grafton Street shop can be seen from afar, drawing curious eyes to its doorstep. Inside, the boutique overflows with jewellery, incense, home decor and funky clothing sourced from around the world. It’s a downtown icon for shoppers of all ages: from teenagers wanting cheap thrills to adults investing in unique gems for their home.

The shop opened its colourful doors 30 years ago when avid explorers Dawn and Dominique Villermet decided to put down some roots in Halifax. Originally, the two met travelling and would buy things to sell in their next destination. They kept up this lifestyle for about three years, until they relocated to Canada and started street vending. Slowly, their worldly business venture morphed into what is now The Black Market.

Wiebke Kungl and Lauren Parsons, strangers to each other at the time, started working at the boutique in 2002. This year, the longtime managers of the shop became part-owners of the business.The two say they have been working towards this position for a very long time, starting by going on “buying trips” early on. Each year, the owners of the boutique travel to India, Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand in search of authentic items. Occasionally, they visit Ecuador and Peru.
“It’s a treasure hunt, basically,” says Kungl, describing what it’s like to sift through a crammed market in Bangkok.

The owners’ relationship with the sellers they buy from varies country to country. In India for example, they have been doing business with the same people since The Black Market opened. When the owners visit Pushkar their friendships are so established that they consistently get invited for chai, dinner and even to weddings. Today, the Villermets execute trips to Bali, Indonesia, while Kungl and Parsons have the rest covered.

Wiebke Kungl and Lauren Parsons - ASHLEY CORBETT
  • Wiebke Kungl and Lauren Parsons
  • Ashley Corbett
“We do pretty much everything now…the buying, the running of the shops,” says Parsons. The two are grateful that the shop’s original owners have “worked very hard to come up with a creative way for younger people to buy a very established business,” says Kungl.

Though the shop remains a constant in Halifax, it has definitely evolved. A Black Market in Chester, Parsons’ hometown, debuted in 2014. The shop also began shipping across Canada this year. Kungl and Parsons say that even the products they bring in have altered recently.

“Since we’ve been with the store…it’s changed a lot,” says Parsons. “As we get older too, our tastes change. So we’re watching what we want to bring in be a little more expensive, a little higher quality.”

Kungl agrees: “We’re getting away from fast fashion and a little bit more into handmade,” she says.

Even so, the original values of The Black Market remain the same. Parsons says the Villermets are a little hard to live up to, since they always go “the full mile.”  But it’s pretty clear that the founding principles of the shop, like ethically sourced products, treating people fairly and giving back to the communities they buy from, haven’t wavered under their watch.

This Saturday the store celebrates its three decades in business by giving back to its regular shoppers with an all-day 30 percent off sale.

“It is kind of crazy to step back and think about it, because you know what,” says Parsons of the anniversary, “it’s hard to be a successful business and be able to change and grow and stay relevant into the 30th year.”
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Boutique Banking

North End’s KEW Home designed by chance, customer service and loyalty

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“It was one of those happenstance moments,” David McQuaid says about running into Ray Frizzell in Toronto. They started talking about furniture and products, and their own vision for a new boutique furniture store in Halifax. As it turned out, they were on the exact same page.

Ray and David imagined a place where shopping for furniture was fun and customers felt good about their purchase. They would stock the store with quality pieces that were affordable, modern in design and made for real life.

Getting started wasn’t easy.

The initial days of KEW were filled with coffee and late nights. Ray and David laugh at the memory, saying coffee houses should have been their headquarters because they frequented them so often.

Finding commercial rental space in downtown Halifax wasn’t easy back in 2013. Ray and David spent months searching for the ideal space to call home for KEW. Eventually they found it, next to an art gallery downtown.

As soon as their struggle to find a location was finally over, getting the financial pieces in place to operate the business quickly became another one. According to David, most banks were shying away from small companies with big-ticket items at the time, especially when it came to providing a point-of-sale (POS) system. “We had the money to start the business, so we weren’t looking for a loan,” says David. “We just needed a bank account and a debit machine, but we kept hearing “no” until we went to CUA.

Ray had dealt with CUA’s Commercial Team in his previous business, and did his personal banking there as well. He knew CUA had a reputation for showing up and supporting small, independent businesses in a big way. So, he booked an appointment for the duo to make their case.

With a strong business plan, previous entrepreneurial experience and ample paperwork to back up their position, CUA had all they needed to say “yes”. A quick phone call to their POS provider resulted in a green light to proceed.

And so, in 2013, KEW became the boutique furniture store Ray and David had dreamed of, filled with modern, simple pieces that were well-made at a decent price. For Ray and David, the concept of “boutique” isn’t about price, but rather the experience.

When you walk into KEW, there’s something markedly different about the vibe. The music, local art, funky décor and clean-line furniture are packaged in a warm welcome heard from a corner where David or Ray are working on new product display. It’s as though the store has been reserved for you – and of course the owners, KEW’s only employees.

“We understand layout, space, flow, and how people move through a room,” says David. “We’re small enough so when someone comes in, they get us.” Ray adds, “We love the process of getting to know people and their style. And we’re honest – our customers know we don’t sell something that we wouldn’t put in our own home.”

Ray and David have created a loyal customer base who visit to say hello in between redecorating projects. “We care about our customers so much that we’ve refused to sell a piece until they go home to measure their space,” David says. “Delivering a piece of furniture that doesn’t fit through the door doesn’t go over so well.”

Caring about people, being honest, delivering great products and personalized service – those are the things David and Ray credit for KEW’s continued growth and success as a boutique furniture store, now a block South of the Hydrostone market on Gottingen Street. For Ray, service tops the list of why clients come back to KEW, and why KEW continues to bank with CUA.

“CUA stepped up when we needed them then, and they continue to show up now – even for the little things,” says Ray, recalling a day when David couldn’t leave the store to do a wire transfer. “CUA sent a staff member to our store to help us out and get it done.”

David adds, “That kind of service is not common – especially in banking – but they’ve been doing it forever. They visit our store, buy our products, collaborate on fun ideas and profile us on social media. It’s as though they see themselves as partners in KEW’s success.”

Having a partner in their corner makes it easy to look the other way when other bank managers come knocking, offering KEW incentives to switch. “We know where our loyalty stands,” says Ray. “When everyone else said no, CUA said yes. We’ll never forget that.”

With a nod, the pair – in unison – note, “You can’t put a price on loyalty.”

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Legal weed’s roll-out

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 4:09 PM

  • The Coast

So, no big deal or anything, but cannabis bcomes legal in Canada on Wednesday. This October 17 date has been a real, albeit still somewhat surreal, target for a while, giving lawmakers, producers and retailers a serious deadline to get a lot of shit figured out. And as that deadline gets ever closer, putting increasing pressure on all the various things that could go wrong, the biggest concern emerging across the country is that there's just not going to be enough legal weed to go around.

"Legal cannabis supply to meet 30 to 60 percent of demand: C.D. Howe report" was the Financial Post headline. CBC put it another way in response to the same think tank study: "Don't delete your dealer's number yet."

Like most provinces, in Nova Scotia the liquor-distribution arm of government is also handling all the pot-dealing duties, and the demand for recreational cannabis was clearly low-balled. Last January attorney general Mark Furey announced there would be nine NSLC stores selling weed; in May the number was raised to 12; this week the NSLC has been talking up the ease with which anyone in the province will be able to get doob delivery through the liquor corporation's coming weed website.

What exactly will be available in those various retail environments? Will there be a sure-to-impress selection in the flagship NSLC Cannabis store on Clyde Street, the only NSLC shop where weed and liquor won't be sold under the same roof? How many strains of sativa should Scotian shoppers seek? The answer to questions like these suggest what the weed shortage looks like on store shelves.

"Cannabis LPs have told us to expect less than what we ordered," explains the NSLC's Beverley Ware, "so we anticipate there will be fewer varieties of product and less inventory on hand than we had planned." There are currently only 120 licensed producers in all of Canada, a number that includes the three LPs in Nova Scotia that aren't yet producing crops for retail. "The industry is new and the LPs are working hard to get their product picked, packed and shipped," Ware continues. "We are receiving inventory regularly and are hopeful that we will have a wide product assortment to offer our customers on October 17."

Where does this leave you, the prospective recreational cannabis shopper, come the end of prohibition? With no Nova Scotian ganja in the game, Moncton-based Organigram is effectively our local producer, so that's a brand to watch for.

As for strains, Organigram was recently nominated for a whole slew of Canadian Cannabis Awards. These are like the Academy Awards of weed, and OGI is nominated in categories including Top Sativa Flower (for the Edison #7 strain), Top Indica Flower (Edison #3) and Top Balanced Flower (for the CBD-rich Baleen strain). Look for those names at your local retailer—if you have one—and if they're not in stock, remember that in this brave new world, NSLC staff are paid to give you reefer recommendations.

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Guided Tour - North End

Halifax’s historic north end is a great place to live—and the shops and services here contribute to the community feeling.

Posted on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 3:50 PM

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Blue Collar Experience

Once you step foot into Blue Collar Barbershop, you'll never look back. Their professional cuts look exactly like what you came in looking for. You'll stop in for a cut, but you'll keep coming back for their welcoming vibe.

Located across from the YMCA on the ground floor of the VELO apartments, Blue Collar Barbershop is where all are welcome to come in, hang out, drink some coffee and get a cool barber-styled haircut. They specialize in fades, tapers, beard trims, hot-towel shaves and classic-style haircuts.

They carry a variety of high-quality grooming products, so even when you leave, you can achieve the blue collar style at home. They leave you looking fresh, and they make sure you keep up the style even when you're gone. Book online, call for an appointment at 902-407-5585 or try your luck at walking in. Get there however you please, because you won't want to take the risk of missing out on the best cut in the HRM.

Blue Collar Barbershop
2300 Gottingen Street

Local Love

The cool weather is here and that means reconnecting with our favourite bar. We can't help but gravitate towards The Local for trivia on Mondays, jazz nights on Wednesdays or to listen to some tunes on a Sunday afternoon. Nothing says autumn like grabbing a pint of a local brew with an afternoon of pool, ping pong or shuffleboard.

Let the relaxing atmosphere invite you over for their signature pizza and daytime fun with friends, and then come back downstairs to The Seahorse Tavern to let loose and unwind from your long week. Their stage is home to our classic Halifax bands, and you know they'll throw a new artist into the mix. We can always count on them to have the next big lineup we were looking for.

Get your dance on during any regular night or stop by for one of their theme nights. Who could say no to Retro Night's '80s-style neon colours and big, messy hair? The best memories are made right at The Seahorse.

The Local / The Seahorse Tavern
2037 Gottingen Street

Accessible Artwork

Owning art doesn't have to feel unattainable, or even break the bank. Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery brings Maritime artists to life, and all for a price that suits you.

Studio 14 has been promoting Nova Scotian art for seven years, and provides the community with custom framing and accessible art reproductions that start at $20. You can easily take home the folk-art style of Maud Lewis with small journals, Mi'kmaq artist Allen Syliboy's work showcasing water and whales, or a piece by realist painter Alex Colville.

These Maritime artists have been inspired by their surroundings and have painted images for us to admire for years to come. The three artists represent different time periods and art styles that will suit any home's taste, and their work even comes in calendar form.

From books to journals to Christmas ornaments varying from $10 to $30, Studio 14 has lovely gifts for the art lover in your life.

Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery
2393 Agricola Street

Tapped In

Open any fridge in Halifax and you'll likely spot a case of Propeller Brewing Company's IPA or Pilsener. It's because they know what we like to relax with at home, including their new craft cocktail "Perfect Storm" that you can find in their Gottingen Street retail store.

But take the comfort of having a beer at home, and pair it with the enjoyment of being around other humans at the Propeller Tasting Room. Drop in with friends or chat with the staff and learn more about the full range of beer. There's nothing that brings people together like a crisp pint.

See where the magic happens by booking a brewery tour for team-building events or bachelor(ette) parties, and then come back ready to try all of the flavours with their flights of four. It wouldn't be fall without their spiced Pumpkin Ale on the menu, and the Nocturne Black IPA helps support the Nocturne: Art at Night event. You won't want to miss out on these seasonal flavours!

Propeller Brewing Company
2015 Gottingen Street

Pharma-saving us from colds

Cold and flu season may be ahead of us, but luckily Pharmasave North End makes it their mission to keep you healthy. Don't let the flu disrupt cozy time with your family or prevent you from going out and enjoying your day. Pick up your prescription or find a vitamin recommendation to keep your immune system boosted, and kick that cold to the curb.

Feeling unsure about what you're taking? Pharmasave pharmacists will be there to offer their best advice. Their team is knowledgeable and trustworthy. You'll know you can count on them to take their time to listen to your wants and needs in terms of health. Even when your doctor is busy, there's space for you at Pharmasave.

Your cold may come at an inconvenient time, but that's never a problem for their team. Pharmasave is built on local people helping their local community get healthy, no matter when it hits you.

Flu shots are coming soon! Call your Pharmasave North End pharmacy team to ask about the clinic schedule and book your appointment.

Pharmasave North End
3530 Novalea Drive

Picked Fresh

Take a bite and experience the freshness that only comes from buying food from surrounding land. With produce picked and harvested from farms around Nova Scotia, when you shop at Local Source Market, it's like shopping in your own backyard.

Plan tonight's supper around what's in season. Picture starting your meal off with a cheese platter filled with a wide selection of gourmet cheeses from Nova Scotia and Quebec. Then, become tempted by the smell of this green grocer's made-from-scratch bakery. Even with so many breads to pair, you know you can never go wrong with their famous Molasses Seed Bread.

The cherry on top of your meal prep for the night is Local Source's new Boxing Rock growler fill station. Nothing says Nova Scotia like local craft beer.

Local Source makes planning your evening or your next event easy. They can cater all of this green goodness, and more, to any gathering. Harness your urban locavore!

Local Source Market
2530 Agricola Street

Genuine Gold

Walking through the aisles of any chain store, you'll find bottles of oil awash in fake and adulterated olive oils. Genuine oils are hard to find, but you'll know it when you taste it. Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive is built on a commitment to genuine extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and trust us, you'll be able to tell the difference.

In staking their reputation on genuine, Liquid Gold serves only the world's freshest EVOO from anywhere in the world where olives are grown and crushed—not only Greece, Spain or Italy. Browse and taste the full selection at Liquid Gold's Hydrostone Market store.

Liquid Gold's white and dark balsamic vinegars are produced in northern Italy and make the perfect companion to their EVOO. Tasting your EVOO of choice before purchasing is key, and that's why nothing at Liquid Gold is pre-bottled.

There are two reasons to choose an EVOO: for the taste of it, and for the health benefits of consuming it. You will spot the difference immediately in freshness and in the unmistakable sparkle, feel and true taste of genuine Liquid Gold.

Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive
5525 Young Street

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Hop Over to Hopyard

Beer. Food. Vinyl. What more could we need? Hopyard Beer Bar took the best of the north end, and just added to it. Gottingen was already filled with amazing options for food, drink and music, and we couldn't be happier to see another perfect fit find its home here.

Hopyard offers 10 taps that are rotating every two weeks, so you're always ahead of the game in terms of independent craft breweries. Their food menu is ever changing as well, with the last few being Italian and then Asian-inspired. Up next, you can try a Southern Comfort-themed meal that you won't want to miss.

Hopyard keeps things exciting but is never too out of your comfort zone. It has an inviting vibe where you can come chill alone, or stop by with your group to try a little flair of everything. Sift through 700+ records, pick your favourite tune and relax with whatever makes you comfortable.  

Hopyard Beer Bar
2103 Gottingen Street

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Often, we don't take care of ourselves as much as we could. But Elizabeth Heffelfinger at Halifax Acupuncture can help you do that.

Do you have back, hip and neck pain from too much time at the computer? Is your stressful workload creating anxiety, or digestive problems? Students, are you studying for extended periods of time, resulting in endless worrying and sleepless nights? These issues, and many more, can all be helped with acupuncture treatments from an experienced, fully trained and licensed Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist.

Elizabeth Heffelfinger at Halifax Acupuncture will work one-on-one with you to discover the causes of your issues and to help you reclaim health and balance.

If you've ever wanted to try acupuncture, now is the time to do it. Go to halifaxacupuncture.com, or call/text 902-240-9959 for an appointment. Experience your innate balance and live the best life possible. 

Halifax Acupuncture,
5663 Cornwallis Street, Suite 305

Home-cooked Deli

The smell, the taste, the family feel—with one bite, you'll be transported back to your mother's kitchen. Hali Deli is a place where food meets nostalgia, and where you'll feel right at home.

With comfort and ease at the forefront of the deli, the hardest decision you'll have to make is between all of their delectable dishes. Inspired by the simplicity of food from Eastern Europe, Lithuania, Russia and Hungary, the food is anything but plain. The tangy flavours mixed with sweet in their cabbage rolls, the warm matzo ball soup or signature smoked meat eggs benny are enough to get you hooked.

Have a seat, and enjoy meals made from scratch. It's like eating at home (only the food is better!). Coming into the deli is being a part of north end Halifax history, and if it's not part of your routine yet, it will be now.   

Hali Deli
2389 Agricola Street

Fog Up Your Goggles

Heading down Gottingen, you'll spot their signature goggles first. And then you won't be able to resist stopping for their featured menu items displayed. The Foggy Goggle is always serving up something delicious and putting a fresh spin on our favourite dishes. Join in on the laughter and fun radiating from this neighbourhood pub, welcoming you in for your next local meal.

Their friendly and warm atmosphere is one way to get cozy and comfortable, and starting off your day with their brunch menu is another. Available 9am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch-lovers will rejoice in their vegetarian huevos rancheros, which can be made vegan, and gluten-free options like the banana bread French toast.

Halifax's historic north end is complete in having The Foggy Goggle around, especially when we're craving their late-night eats. Settle into their space with one of 14 beers on tap, spirits and delicious locally sourced food.

The Foggy Goggle
2057 Gottingen Street

Crisp, Cool, Creamy

Cool weather never stopped us from craving a small scoop, and it shouldn't stop you either. Throw on a scarf, make the trek to Cornwallis Street and live a little. Dee Dee's Ice Cream isn't just a seasonal treat, we're making it a staple no matter what the conditions say.

Using local milk and cream, organic cane sugar, and only the real stuff when it comes to fruits and nuts, you're practically eating healthy! Protein? Calcium? That checks out in our book. And could we even resist Dee Dee's seasonal flavours like Pumpkin Spice? It's autumn! Which means pumpkin spice flows through our veins, and should definitely be consumed in ice cream form.

Pumpkin, scarves and toques aside, Dee Dee's carries some amazing flavours like Mexican Chocolate for those who like a kick, or dairy-free sorbets for our vegan friends. Always check in for new flavours or stay on the cozy side with one of their lattes or filling burritos.  

Dee Dee's Ice Cream
5667 Cornwallis Street
The Road to Health

Instead of searching for a quick fix, why not heal the aches you're having? Agricola Holistic Health raises the bar in terms of healthcare, and takes a whole new approach to health in Halifax. Their individualized and holistic approach to healthcare ensures that no matter what your needs are, they'll be met with the best treatment possible for your whole body.

The clinic has been open for close to four and a half years, and is soon rebranding to Agricola Health + Wellness to capture the true essence of what they do for the health of their community.

Each and every person who walks through their doors receives the best service and care, whether that includes massage therapy, physiotherapy and pelvic floor physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine or nutrition services.

Don't be afraid to ask questions! Their team is waiting to work with you to optimize your performance and guide you back to your overall health and wellbeing.  

Agricola Holistic Health / Agricola Health + Wellness
5689 Cunard Street

The First Rule about 30 Minute Club
Are you ready to become a HITTER?

Looking to make the next move on your exciting journey of health, empowerment and happiness? Give 30 Minute Hit a half hour of your time, and you'll enjoy a fun, intense, full body cardio workout.

30 Minute Hit is designed to accommodate the busy lives of modern-day women. This dynamic circuit consists of techniques taken from boxing, kickboxing, self-defence and core stability training. Research says this kind of kickboxing circuit is one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts, and who are we to argue with the facts?

Don't worry if you're new to the game, a trainer is there to help you all the way. You'll be sweating it out during two-minute interval circuits, and when you're not hitting the bags, you'll be working on core stability exercises.

Squeeze in that 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, have some fun, and get your health back on track. Book your free trial online today at 30minutehit.com and start your own 30 Minute Hit journey!  

30 Minute Hit Halifax
5651 Hennessey Street, Suite 2

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Limited Supply Clothing Co. finds new homes for old clothes

Second-hand hunter and clothing designer Roddy DeLeon has a passion for pre-loved fashion.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 3:01 AM

  • Riley Smith
“I’ve always had an interest in clothing. My grandmother helped me with sewing when I was younger. I also had a tailor who let me shadow him a bit,” says Roddy DeLeon. The 21-year-old Dalhousie philosophy student hosted a vintage pop up shop over the weekend at Eyelevel Gallery for his Limited Supply Clothing Co; among the consigned items were his own designs.

As a kid, DeLeon found Halifax’s clothing options underwhelming, which is why he took things into his own hands.“Instead of sending out to get them, I just decided to make them. If that is what other people are doing, why can’t I?”
Optimistic about the growing fashion community in Halifax and interested in helping diminish clothing waste, his idea to launch a consignment line stemmed from noticing old clothes piling up at his own home, as well as friends’.

“I gathered their clothes and was like, ‘Hey I can sell these, they are really nice clothes,” says DeLeon.

He began to use his car as a moving thrift shop. Currently, the money he gets from the consigned items goes right back to the previous owner. With the donated items, he splits the profit. Basically, DeLeon is helping find old clothes a new home.
“I go to your house and pick up the clothes for you,” he says. “The whole idea is for you to be lazy and to get the money that you deserve.”

Limited Supply Clothing Co. currently carries plenty of unisex and men’s pieces but is looking to expand into women’s clothing as well. “We want everybody to be a part of this. It’s a co-op made for the community by the community,” says DeLeon. “We are aiming to do a university tour where people can drop off and trade clothes. It’s a good way to let people know that there are people doing cool things here and there is a community for fashion in Halifax.”

To get in touch with DeLeon—or track down his next pop-up—follow Limited Supply on Instagram.
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Find your must-haves at the Has Bin

A new queer-friendly consignment store opens in Dartmouth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 4:00 AM

  • submitted

For carefully curated style and inclusive, sustainable shopping, look no further than The Has Bin (269 Windmill Road), a new consignment store in Dartmouth. Business owners and young entrepreneurs Bee Morrison and Gwyn Maxwell opened the space last week and are astounded at their success so far.

"It feels really really good to be your own boss, I think, and to have people come in and be excited about it. it's a really wild feeling," says Morrison.

Both she and Maxwell are in their early 20s. Maxwell, hailing from Vancouver, managed a thrift store in the past, so she brings the technical skills to the business, while Morrison brings the passion and the people skills.

"It was kind of like a dream we didn't know we had," says Morrison.

Maxwell agrees. "Everything just kind of fell into place somehow."

The two say The Has Bin's affordability and inclusivity sets them apart from other consignment shops. Their clothing is organized by colour instead of by gender.

"There's not a lot of men's consignment, or masculine clothes, and we're also a gender-queer inclusive space," says Morrison. "For example, it's really hard to find plus size masculine clothes, and so we're trying out very best to procure as much of that as possible. Just trying to be as inclusive as possible, that's what makes us different. We're not just a brand-name women's consignment store."

Morrison, a Dalhousie sustainability student, enjoys how environmentally friendly thrift shopping can be, and hopes to expand the store in the future to include Dartmouth-made art and craft as well as refill stations for dish soap and detergent.

"There's a shop opening like that in Halifax,"says Morrison, shouting out the coming soon Tare Shop, "but there isn't a space like that in Dartmouth yet and I think it would be very beneficial to the community around us."

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Maritime Makers make it on their own

After splitting from Etsy, the annual craft market will go on as planned: “We don’t need Etsy, we just need each other.”

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 4:40 AM

  • Jessika Hepburn
Jessika Hepburn and Fatema Sidat have a lot in common. They both have kids, a knack for making jewellery, and a passion for community organizing, especially when it comes to local handmade goods.

Hepburn and Sidat are the co-organizers of this weekend’s Maritime Makers Market (formerly the Etsy Made In Canada market), an annual craft show that showcases local artisans from across the Atlantic provinces. This year, the two have decided to split from online craft giant Etsy after a change in leadership and values.

When Sidat first joined Etsy in 2011, she was drawn to the diversity in the ages, genders, sizes and people the online marketplace showcased. But when she came back to the site in 2016 after being on maternity leave, she noticed a lot of changes.

“There were a lot of community-lead features that I grew to love, and some of those things started being phased out,” she says. “The people that we grew to love at the Toronto headquarters, a lot of them left or quit. There was just a lot of changes in a very short amount of time.”

Hepburn joined Etsy in 2007. She’s been around for a lot of growth within the company, and was a crucial organizer in the Etsy Made in Canada movement. She is concerned with Etsy’s lack of ethics and transparency in its sudden changes after the hiring of CEO Josh Silverman, a former executive with American Express and eBay.

  • Jessika Hepburn
Hepburn and Sidat joined forces with Etsy to bring the Made in Canada market to Halifax five years ago, but have always organized the volunteer-run event on their own. Sidat and Hepburn have always prioritized diversity, inclusion and community.

“In my mind, we always were going to step away because we did have limitations to working with Etsy—we can’t take other makers, they have to be on Etsy, things like that,” says Sidat. “It just felt like the right time.”

Hepburn couldn’t agree more.

“I think that Nova Scotians, and makers, have everything they need to build better economies and stronger communities and more inclusive movements,” she says. “We don’t need Etsy to do that work, we just need each other.”

The Maritime Makers Market will take place on Saturday, September 22 at Cunard Centre, Pier 23 (961 Marginal Road) 10am-6pm.

Etsy will still run 37 Made In Canada markets next Saturday (September 29), including events in Charlottetown, St. John's, Sussex and Sackville, New Brunswick
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Guided Tour - Quinpool Road

Another Quinfest has come and gone, and not without some good fun had by all. Quinfest celebrated the diversity on the street, and had a little something for everyone.

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 4:00 AM


Karla Nicholson would like to thank everyone who attended this year's Quinpool family fun day. "It was one of the busiest Quinfests we've ever had. The weather was incredible, and everyone had a fun time. We would like to thank the band, Swampdonkeys for doing such a fantastic job."

It's a unique opportunity to give back to the community, and along with the band, Karla would like to thank the loyal customers throughout the year, the sponsors, members, and attendees.

But the businesses are still up and running, even after Quinfest. So, go out and see what all the Quinpool road hype is about.

Dinner of Your Dreams

If you live in Halifax, or have even just stopped in for a visit, then you know that going to the Ardmore Tea Room is a staple. The cozy '50s styled diner is the first place that pops into our heads when brainstorming for a place to grab a meal with friends and family.

They open up at 5am so you never have to worry about going hungry before you start your day, and with prices like these you can afford to go whenever you'd like. We're not complaining, we could eat their eggs benny and slurp on milkshakes all day, every day.

Popping by the Ardmore feels like going to see family. The staff is endlessly friendly, and they always go the extra mile to make sure you are well-fed and leave happy. We'll never pass up an opportunity to grab a seat at this authentic slice of Halifax.  

Ardmore Tea Room, 6499 Quinpool Road

Always Authentically Greek

New isn't always better, and that's definitely the case with this classic Halifax dining spot. Athens Restaurant has been a Greek-food staple in the community for over 25 years, and continues to please whether you're a meat-eater, gluten-free or vegan.

Athens is a family-owned restaurant made for families to come and enjoy their time together. With their kids' menu ready for your picky eaters, you won't have to compromise your meal for the sake of theirs.

Come in for lunch and grab the Greek salad that is topped with perfectly-cooked calamari, and make sure you stay for dessert. The rice pudding is a can't-miss! Opt for the traditional lamb dishes for supper or come in for a Greek spin on breakfast. The Greek Florentine with spinach, tomato, feta and oregano on eggs benny will have you yelling "OPA!"

Between lemon zesty potatoes, and pita with tzatziki for dipping, you won't believe you haven't left the HRM with these authentic Greek tastes.  

Athens Restaurant, 6273 Quinpool Road

A Worldly Cup of Go

Don't blink as you walk down Quinpool or you might miss Halifax's newest, smallest, but most powerful coffee shop, The Atomic Cafe.

Once you discover it though, you'll keep coming back to their cozy corner (nestled inside Pro Skates) where every day you'll find Atomic's friendly barista crafting drinks using the best coffee beans in Halifax. 

The regular menu features Anchor Coffee's espresso-based drinks, but a rotating selection will also feature guest beans from around the world including some you might need to travel to find (SPOILERS: coming soon will be Death Wish Coffee which brings a dark, strong coffee taste to fuel your day, then look out for UK-based Dark Arts, followed by Japanese Minibus beans, each one changing month-to-month so there's always something new to try).

You'll always find your favourite dairy-free options such as almond, soy and oat milk. But don't feel left out if you're not a coffee person, you'll also find an amazing cup of tea brewed there.  

The Atomic Cafe, 6451 Quinpool Road

Doing it Yourself

In a world of DIY, why not go somewhere that takes the risk of "Pinterest fails" away and sets you up for success instead? The Clay Cafe staff is there to do exactly that. All you have to do is bring your creative self along for the ride.

The Clay Cafe isn't just for kids—it's for us kids at heart. Have some fun with clay and paint, and leave with something "adulty" and practical in the end. Mugs, bowls, plates—you name it, you can make it. There are 300 shapes to choose from so you'll always have a unique set (and they're even microwave and dishwasher safe).

The locals know that this is the best place to hang out, and now you're in on the secret too! And psst, students, they're offering you 15 percent off right now. Why buy a generic set of dishes when you can make them yourself?  

Clay Cafe, 6413 Quinpool Road

Small-town Hospitality

Since its inception, Dilly Dally Coffee Cafe has been creating this small-town feeling within their four walls. From knowing their customers by name, to hosting drop-in yoga classes and displaying local artists and makers, this cafe is constantly taking care of their neighbourhood.

Dilly Dally is home to a passionate team including some of the best baristas in the city serving not just the classics, but signature items like the carrot spice latte. This cafe also takes food seriously, featuring market-to-table culinary treats such as their healthy goodness bowl or vegan muffins, all made in-house by Chef Ray and their amazing team of grads from NSCC.

You can come in every single day for your morning latte or come back after a year of travelling­­—they'll still treat you like family. The staff truly know the people who come into the cafe. On this little corner of Halifax, there's a whole lot of community love.  

Dilly Dally Coffee Café, 6100 Quinpool Road

Delicious and Nutritious

What's better than walking around Halifax as it turns to fall? Getting out of the chilly weather and enjoying a warm and filling dish at Heartwood Restaurant.

The window-side seats are prime spots for solo adventures with your book and a peanut- drizzled thai burger, or bring the whole gang in for some veggie nachos with Heartwood-made salsa. Heartwood shows us the true power of veggies and their incredible tastes, and most dining options can be made vegan too!

As if we didn't already look forward to brunch, now Heartwood brings their scrumptious waffles to the table. You wouldn't even know that they're made with hearty spelt-kamut and are naturally sweetened with blueberry sauce. When else can you dig into a dish guilt-free?

At Heartwood, health and taste co-exist, so go ahead and order takeout for later. There's nothing like realizing you have leftover Heartwood bowl for lunch the next day.  

Heartwood Restaurant, 6250 Quinpool Road

Come To Long For A Ride

Have you been searching for the perfect set of wheels? As it turns out, they've been waiting for you, too. Long Alley Bicycles sets you up with the bike of your dreams (within a budget that keeps it real).

These guys specialize in refurbished bicycles but also carry new models as well. Long Alley is Halifax's official dealer of Opus, Masi and Evo for the newer bikes, and as for older ones, well, you'll just have to pop in and see for yourself. The selection is always changing, so you can afford to wait for that "when you know, you know" moment.

If you've already adopted the perfect bike, Long Alley can help you keep your bff well and alive with their set of services. Need a flat tire fix? Their "Tall Cold Pint" will do the trick. Or go all in and enjoy the "Five Course Extravaganza" for a complete rebuild of your bike. They serve it all, plus some enjoyable $5-10 side dishes.  

Long Alley Bicycles, 6164 Quinpool Road

Gourmet On-The-Go

Cozy up by an intimate fire on a Friday night and enjoy the beautiful open-concept space that is the new Morris East location. This neighbourhood restaurant is completely Instagram-worthy, especially with the warming pizza oven decorating the background.

Morris East is all about connecting over pizza, and they're set up to accommodate your next big celebration. Bring your birthday parties and wedding anniversaries over, or just pop in for after-work drinks and choose between their eight craft beers on tap or signature cocktails.

Treat yourself to a gourmet pizza or pasta dish and a fresh salad to pair, and you definitely can't skip out on dessert! Their salted caramel tarts are baked in-house by a local pastry chef and are by far the best dessert in Halifax.

If you're in a rush, you can now eat on-the-go in style with their new Slice Shop. Bring Morris East's famous lumberjack pizza with you, so you never have to miss out on bacon, caramelized onion and maple drizzle goodness.   

Morris East, 1984 Vernon Street

Browsing for Beets, Eats and Vegan Treats

With the cold season approaching, our immune systems need a little kick into high gear. Organic Earth Market has everything we need to keep our bodies healthy inside and out.

From screening every ingredient in their grocery and natural body care products, to constantly picking up more local goods, this little gem of a market does so much for the community in terms of health and wellness.

Organic Earth even offers 10 percent off on Tuesdays for students, making it easy to stay healthy when you're back to hitting the books. Whether you're a student or not, it can still be tricky to maintain your healthy practices. That's what their prepared food section is for. You can find everything from delicious in-house baked vegan treats, to fully packed meals and 100 percent organic produce to get you through your busy day. Who says you can't have your cake and eat your veggies too?  

Organic Earth Market, 6487 Quinpool Road

Saving Soles

Bring your footwear favourites back to life at Quinpool Shoe Repair. With some high-quality dye, new colourful soles and some shine, you'll think they're brand new—and so will everyone else. That's why we've trusted them with our shoe repair needs since 1958.

If you've been in before, get ready for a surprise—they're in a new location right across the street. But the shop is still a little slice of NYC. Look around the walls and say hello to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra as you get your shoes shined.

There's nothing Quinpool Shoe Repair can't do between key cutting, waterproofing by hand, rubber soles for winter and heel and zipper fixes. You can even trust them with your belts and leather purses. Did we mention they have the tools to fix sports equipment and to sharpen your skates? And why not get some colourful new laces while you're at it? Your pieces deserve the best, and they help maintain the things we love so we never have to say goodbye. Quinpool Shoe Repair, 6424 Quinpool Road

Representing Nova Scotian Artists

Secord Gallery is our source for both contemporary fine art and expert custom framing, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of their expansion and establishment of the gallery.

As one of the longest-established galleries and independent custom framing shops in the region, Secord is passionate about the importance of art and the contemporary Nova Scotian artists who create it.

The 25th anniversary series on display features the work of Leya Evelyn and Steve Farmer. Leya is perhaps Nova Scotia's best-known abstract painter, and Steve is well-known as a NSCAD instructor and creator of amazing photographs of exceptional marine and industrial subject matter.

Secord wants to celebrate the remarkable talent found in Nova Scotia with you, and is always eager to discuss the artists, and to assist in your art purchases, including alternative payment methods such as leasing to buy. The gallery also provides experienced and creative framing consultation, an amazing selection of mouldings and expert crafting.  

Secord Gallery, 6301 Quinpool Road

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Neptune Theatre's giving major props

Attention yard salers: This Saturday morning the props and costume department is cleaning house

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 4:00 AM

It’s been seven—maybe 10—years since Neptune Theatre has had a Props and Costumes Sale but this weekend its ready to part ways with some treasures.

“It’s a dusty old job but we have to make room. We have a new artistic director with different ideas and different tastes and we have to make him some space,” says Neptune’s Andrew Cull, who spent his week deciding exactly what goes and what stays. He says the sale will consist of a little bit of everything—props, costumes and wardrobe from productions past, industrial lighting, materials and loads of furniture. It’ll be wild and weird and priced low—like yard sale low. 

“It’s like, which parts of Beauty and the Beast will survive another 15 years and which parts we should get rid of now?” says Cull. The sale takes place at Neptune’s prop storage building at 2245 Creighton Street, Saturday September 15 from 9am to noon, and could be a total goldmine for students in need of cheap (and vintage) furniture, drama teachers looking to build one hell of a tickle trunk or just curious folks who want to rummage through on-stage history. 

“Sometimes it’s hard, it’s like letting go of your babies. You worked hard—we spent a lot of person-hours on intense design work, but we just know its so specific that we’re not going to do the show again, or rent it out or the design is unique for our theatre,” says Cull. “Sometimes we just have to say, ‘How common is that?’”
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Thursday, September 6, 2018

West Street's sole searchers

Two local foot soldiers are working to bring Halifax a sneaker destination via East Coast Kicks and Classic Soles.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2018 at 3:20 AM

John Connor and Tyrone Goodwin are pumped on kicks - IAN SELIG
  • John Connor and Tyrone Goodwin are pumped on kicks
  • Ian Selig
East Coast Kicks and Classic Soles
5687 West Street

East Coast Kicks and Classic Soles want to make it easier to stay fresh in a pair of sneakers. Opening earlier this year, the two companies have been offering exclusive high-end kicks and sneaker cleaning, restoration and customization to Haligonian shoe enthusiasts, providing the ultimate one-stop-shop solution for all their footwear needs.

Proprietors and self-proclaimed sneakerheads John Connor (founder of East Coast Kicks) and Tyrone Goodwin (Classic Soles boss) bonded over their love of fly shoes when they first met at Sole Exchange—an entire convention dedicated to sneakers.

“We kind of knew of each other before,” says Connor. “I met Tyrone and saw him doing his cleanings and restorations—before then he wasn’t doing customs—so we decided to collaborate and get our own spot together, and the rest is history.”
Moving to West Street, the two entrepreneurs set up shop in January, situating their respective shops next to each other. Since then they’ve been running a successful operation with Connor keeping the shelves decked out with dope footwear brands (read: Yeezys, Nike x Off-White, Gucci) and Goodwin keeping patrons’ favourite shoes in tip-top condition.

“Some shoes don’t even release in Canada, most don’t release in Nova Scotia, and the only place to find them are shops in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver,” says Connor of his exclusive finds. “And with Classic Soles we offer the premium shoe cleaning, restoration and customization—we try to give the full experience at our store.”

  • Ian Selig
While business is good at the moment, skeptics might be quick to bring up the sneaker shops that have come and gone in Halifax, but Connor says this shop is nothing like the rest.

“Most of those stores that are gone now were actually retail stores who bought directly from companies like Adidas,” he says. “Whereas with my shop, I buy what I want and I also offer consignment, so it gives people who want to sell their shoes a chance to use my platform and get themselves paid a lot faster than selling themselves.”

When it comes to their place in the sneaker fanatic culture, Connor says they hope to be a hub for customers looking to stay up on what’s hot and new: “We want to see people coming through and experiencing our shop, even if they’re not buying anything—just to experience it.”

The unique experience they offer is definitely paying off. Just nine months into setting up shop, Connor and Goodwin are preparing to relocate as their small 290 square-foot shop is literally stacked “floor to ceiling” with shoeboxes full of kicks waiting to be worn. With plans to find a new home on the peninsula and involving themselves in charity efforts like shoe drives, the dynamic duo is in for a massive undertaking, but promise keep the original spirit of their shops alive as they continue to grow.

“We’re not your typical mall type of store,” says Connor. “We just want to always be the place that people go to for the after-market sneaker world in Halifax as well as the shoe cleanings.” 
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cheeky Cod Gallery connects people with the artists

Queen Street's vintage row gets a pop of local art

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 4:13 AM

When local artist Kelly Burgess decided she needed a solid spot to sell her work in Halifax, she pulled up her socks and made it happen. After calling up artists she’d met over the years at farmers’ markets, craft fairs and exhibits, The Cheeky Cod Gallery (1528 Queen Street) opened on the brightest block downtown—Vintage Row—earlier in the month, shining a light on single makers (the folks going it alone who might not have the ability to wholesale their work).

“It’s grown into this collection of work in the shop that has this great energy, and people come in and see that,” says Burgess. “I tell everyone who the artist is, what their story is. My goal is to really connect people with the artist.” The Cheeky Cod features work like pottery, ironwork, leatherwork, felting, woodworking, rug hooking and jewellery. Burgess hopes to offer pop-ups and classes in the gallery’s upstairs space soon. 
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Remembering Hal Forbes

The man behind Forbes Restoration, and facelifts of many Halifax heritage homes, passed away August 24.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 3:53 AM

Hal Forbes’ house is across the street from the Halifax Women’s Housing Co-op, where I lived for 15 years. Hal’s house is oxblood with hunter green trim (original heritage colour, natch). The co-op building is three blocky stories of baby-blue vinyl siding.

So we would run into each other on the street. “Got any juicy gay gossip?” he would ask, and we’d lean up against his gigantic pick-up and shoot the breeze.
He often had a crew of carpenter’s assistants with him, young men apprenticing.
One day, sometime in the late ’90s, we both happened onto the street and when Hal saw me, he called over. “Come ’ere,” he said. “I got something good for you.”
The day before, one of Hal’s crews had been on the street and overheard a woman’s voice, coming from a co-op window. The voice was of a woman being led to orgasm. “The guys,” Hal said, “were frozen in place listening to that orgasm going on and on and on.” Hal laughed his big laugh. “They did not say one word,” he said, “until one piped up, and in all seriousness, said, ‘Do you think she could teach me how to do that?’”

That’s my Hal story but there are many others. Kim Robertson and her son Eric lived in the co-op and Kim says Hal took Eric to air shows, to musicals. Taught him how to tie-dye a shirt.

“Oh my god,” she says, “Hal taught Eric to see beauty.” 
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Moksha Yoga is working on its fitness

The downtown studio adds HIIT, barre, pilates to the mix

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 4:10 PM

Moksha's Best of Halifax winning yoga instructor, Kelly Wadden - ALEXA CUDE
  • Moksha's Best of Halifax winning yoga instructor, Kelly Wadden
  • Alexa Cude
It’s been 10 years since Moksha Yoga Halifax (1512 Dresden Row) opened its doors to yogis and yogi-wannabes alike, and owner Joanna Thurlow is giving gifts rather than receiving them. September ushers in some changes to the studio, bringing its students more diversity when it comes to the classes they’re taking.

“We’re creating that space for people who need a little more from their workout but don’t necessarily want to juggle memberships,” says Thurlow of the feedback that propelled her to do some renos to Moksha’s upstairs space. You can expect more faster-paced yoga (and more music), Moksha Fit classes—a workout targeted at yoga practitioners—yoga HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and a larger commitment to barre and pilates offerings.

“I feel it’s a natural part of business. It’s like in nature, it’s kind of like evolve or die,” says Thurlow. “I don’t want to just win a popularity contest, I want to be the best yoga studio.”

With 46 yoga classes a week and 11 fitness classes, Moksha remains very dedicated to what it's been doing all decade, but this refreshed version of its schedule launches September 4. The best news it that all classes are a cool $5 for the entire month, and if you’ve got a student ID you can bliss out with a free trial week. 
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Flo brings peace, love and meditation to downtown Halifax

A new studio on Argyle wants to provide balance to suits and servers alike

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 11:40 AM

In the heart of the bustle of downtown Halifax, you can find a peace, quiet and serenity—if you know where to look.  That place is called Flo, a newly opened modern meditation studio. (1574 Argyle Street, suite 14). Take a step inside, and find your breath.

Owners Autumn Grant and Jonathan Dododza named the studio after their baby girl, Florence. The family moved to Halifax from Vancouver in June and jumped in feet first, opening the studio a month-and-a-half later.

“Leaving home is never easy but it was serendipitous in a way where it gave me a chance to play with an open canvas in a transitioning city,” says Dododza.

“We feel that there is definitely a shift happening in the province,” says Grant, a Nova Scotia native. “It’s new, exciting, it feels really fresh, there’s a lot of things happening and we wanted to be a part of that movement.”

The couple is big on community and collaboration and wanted to create a space that reflected those values. Their space is full of locally curated art and products. Their teachers are local too, each bringing a different set of skills to the studio.

There is a magic to Flo, explains Dododza. There is no judgement—you can believe in what you want, wear what you want. Their hope is to make meditation less intimidating so people can experience its benefits. They want people to see it “through a whole different perspective.”

“You can't really control serendipity,” says Dododza. “We've been putting out this energy and this vibe and it’s just been coming all right back.”

Grant couldn’t agree more. “It just really makes us feel like we're doing the right thing at the right time.”
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Halifax street style: Ochterloney Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 11:27 AM

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Name: Logan Hawkes
Occupation: Barber/co-owner at Lucky Cat Barbershop
Spotted: Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth
Wearing: Real Tree x Lucky Cat shop tee, Stan Ray painter pants, Thrasher x Vans slip-ons from Pro Skates, vintage Seiko watch

How would you describe your style?
The culmination of years of trial and error.

Who/where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?
It's really just an expression of how I'm feeling on any given day. I tried a personal uniform once, I think I lasted three days.

How does living in Halifax affect your fashion choices?
I'm surrounded by such a supportive community, and that makes me feel free to dress how I want.

Name a current trend that you just can't get on board with?
I had a kid tell me recently that he liked his t-shirt because the logo meant that everyone knew it was expensive. Are you wearing the clothes, or are the clothes wearing you, man?

Favourite local shop?
RCHMND and Pro Skates.
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Vol 26, No 38
February 14, 2019

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